Arsonists at play

Church burnings in Alabama
The reign of terror against rural Alabama churches appears to be over. Three college men—all honor students, and two of them students at a United Methodist school, Birmingham-Southern College—have confessed to setting nine churches on fire.

In the days following the arrests, Alabamians asked, “Why?” We have heard no motive other than “for the thrill of it.” I remember a federal agent who, in the days after the first fires, speculated on possible motives and said, “Maybe somebody just did it for the thrill of watching something burn.” At the time it struck me as the silliest of possible explanations. Yet that appears to be it. Investigators found on one of the men’s blog a comment about not liking Christians, but nothing else that was illuminating. It looks like they did it for the hell of it.


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